The population cost-effectiveness of interventions designed to prevent childhood depression

Mihalopoulos, Catherine, Vos, Theo, Pirkis, Jane and Carter, Rob (2012) The population cost-effectiveness of interventions designed to prevent childhood depression. Pediatrics, 129 3: E723-E730. doi:10.1542/peds.2011-1823

Author Mihalopoulos, Catherine
Vos, Theo
Pirkis, Jane
Carter, Rob
Title The population cost-effectiveness of interventions designed to prevent childhood depression
Journal name Pediatrics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0031-4005
Publication date 2012-03
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1542/peds.2011-1823
Volume 129
Issue 3
Start page E723
End page E730
Total pages 8
Place of publication Elk Grove Village, IL, United States
Publisher American Academy of Pediatrics
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Depression in childhood and adolescence is common and often persists into adulthood. This study assessed the population-level cost-effectiveness of a preventive intervention that screens children and adolescents for symptoms of depression in schools and the subsequent provision of a psychological intervention to those showing elevated signs of depression. The target population for screening comprised 11- to 17-year-old children and adolescents in the 2003 Australian population.


Economic modeling techniques were used to assess the incremental cost-effectiveness of the intervention compared with no intervention. The perspective was that of the health sector, and outcomes were measured by using disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs). Multivariate probabilistic and univariate sensitivity testing was applied to quantify variations in the model parameters. RESULTS: The modeled psychological intervention had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $5400 per DALY averted, with just 2% of iterations falling above a $50 000 per DALY value-for-money threshold. Results were robust to model assumptions.

After school screening, screening and the psychological intervention represent good value-for-money. Such an intervention needs to be seriously considered in any national package of preventive health services. Acceptability issues, particularly to intervention providers, including schools and mental health professionals, need to be considered before wide-scale adoption.
Keyword Childhood depression
Economic evaluation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 6 February 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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